THE DEVIL IS A LIAR
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:19
The honest student of the whole Counsel of God’s Word knows that numerous clear Bible truths reveal that a saved person can turn away from the LORD, so we know that the apostle John could not possibly be saying that a saved person could never depart from the LORD. In my opinion, this verse is the best argument the eternal security proponent has, yet it’s not enough. There must be two or three witnesses and not just one (2 Cor. 13:1). After a closer examination of this text, one will find that verse 19 does not teach or justify “once saved always saved.” When any one verse is taken to the exclusion of the whole Word of God, one will certainly misunderstand the doctrine of the LORD which can only be apprehended by “study.” (2 Tim. 2:15) This verse is like any other verse of Scripture – it must be taken in light of the entire Counsel of God. The context to be considered is 1 John 2:18-29).
In examining the context in which 1 John 2:19 is set, we see that false teachers whom John calls “many antichrists,” had come and were telling these believers that Jesus was not the Christ (v22).
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:18-19
Note here that it is specifically of these “antichrists” that John speaks and says that “if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
Concerning 1 John 2:19, Donald Stamps, in the Life in the Spirit Study Bible, writes:
“‘THEY WENT OUT FROM US.’ When the antichrists departed from their fellowship with true believers, they were not in a saving relationship with Christ. This allows for two possibilities: (1) They were never true believers to begin with, or (2) they had once been in a saving relationship with Christ but afterward abandoned their faith in Christ.”
Right here in verse 24 of this passage we see the doctrine of personal responsibility to “remain” in faithful obedience to the LORD or lose one’s place with God (1 Cor. 15:2; Gal. 6:9; Col. 1:23). This is a teaching found throughout Holy Writ – the divine requirement to stay saved or lose all in eternity, “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)
“Let that therefore abide (remain) in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. IF (denotes condition) that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” 1 John 2:24-25
Verse 24 alone tells us that we cannot think that verse 19 means that someone who is at some point in right standing with God can never depart from Him and lose out. Also, verse 25 tells us that “eternal life” (not just rewards) is at stake and the promise contingent upon the believer abiding or remaining in that “which ye have heard from the beginning” which is the Gospel. “Eternal life” is assured as long as one is remaining rooted in Jesus Christ. This is the overwhelmingly consistent message of God’s Word.
In verse 26 John says “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.” Verse 19 is written about the deceivers who sought to “seduce” these disciples John was addressing and not of true believers.
With all of Scripture in consideration, we can conclude that 1 John 2:19 is a specific example and not a rule of doctrine.
If you truly wish to search out this matter, let me encourage you to closely examine, break down and study this entire text (1 Jn. 2:18-29). In order to ascertain truth, one must compare the verse in question with all other related Scriptures, beginning with the context in which the verse is set (Isa. 28:9-10; 1 Cor. 2:13).
Excerpt from the book Lie of the Ages
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